|Officials say two of the attackers detonated suicide vests when police attempted to retake the station [Reuters]
At least 12 people have been killed after a police station in northwestern Pakistani came under attack from suspected Taliban fighters.
Three explosions sent plumes of smoke into the air at the Kolachi police station in the Dera Ismail Khan district during the assault, which prompted a standoff on Saturday.
Ten policemen were killed and another five wounded in the assault. Two of the attackers were also killed.
Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, told the Associated Press that his group was claiming responsibility for the attack.
Ahsan said the TTP had sent two attackers, one of them a woman.
He said the attack was partly aimed at avenging the raid by US special forces that killed Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, on May 2.
Dera Ismail Khan is located just outside of the South Waziristan tribal agency in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Television footage showed black-clad security guards armed with rifles taking up positions around the station after the initial raid.
"They threw grenades and opened indiscriminate firing as they stormed into the police station," local police chief Imtiaz Khan told the Reuters news agency.
Javed Khan, a police commando said that at least one of the attackers was a suicide bomber who blew himself up when an armoured vehicle tried to enter the police compound after the initial raid.
Salahuddin Khan, a police official, said that two people had detonated suicide vests, including one woman.
Police officials said that around 17 policemen were on duty when the attackers hit the station.
The Pakistani Express-Tribune newspaper reported "heavy firing" as being under way on Saturday evening as security forces launched an operation to retake the building.
It quotes sources as indicating that up to 35 policemen were trapped inside the station during the assault.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the provincial information minister, said that the attackers had aimed to secure the release of prisoners.
"The attackers had come prepared for days of siege and hostage-taking to secure the release of other militants," Hussain told the AFP news agency. He said two of the attackers had detonated their suicide vests, and a third attacker was killed by a rocket.
Mohammad Raees, a witness, told Reuters that three of the attackers approached the station, located in a residential area, on a motorbike, and that one of them was wearing a burqa, which he took off as they attacked the building.